The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #581   Message #984184
Posted By: GUEST,Porky
15-Jul-03 - 11:40 PM
Thread Name: Origins:Deportees-seeking original Woody recording
Subject: RE: Deportees
OK, I think some of you are taking this a little too seriously... I realize this conversation has gone on for five years, so I thought I'd add an entry for 2003.
As for the content of the newspaper article, I've read so many versions that edit out various parts, it's hard to tell what's what. In any case, although the AP article doesn't mention LG Canyon by name, one doesn't need to be a rocket scientist to have a look at a map (I'm assuming Woody had these in 1948) and see what's to the west of Fresno. Woody being who he was, maybe he didn't need a map... perhaps he was familiar with the area... Fresno County is the breadbasket of California. Also, just because Woody wrote "the radio said...." absolutely does not mean that was his source of info... c'mon guys, there's a number of musicians here, anyone consider artistic license? For all we know, someone told him about this over a pool table. Woody wrote for the common man, and in terms the common man understood. I don't think he spent a heck of a lot of time picking nits.
In modern times, that bus ride from Oakland to the border (Mexico, Mexican... who cares?? Do you sing the exact same thing every time you do a song? I don't...) is about 10 hours... in 1948 it probably would have been an overnighter, with that stop in Bakersfield. However, even that is luxurious in comparison to what these people went through in order to get here in the first place.
This is one of my favorite all time songs, it sends a powerful message about the plight of the migrant farm worker, and it's hard to believe that this is 55 years old; it could have been written yesterday. Bruce Springsteen sings what could be considered the sequel to this song in "Sinaloa Cowboys."
Oh, yeah, and "rottning" just sounds illiterate, I've only found one transcription that used that word, and there were other blatant errors in it.
Thanks to Joe for a lot of good info, if he's still around.